This paper takes part in the series essay competition of “great science” of Recordunkown.
With the help of science and technology, when human beings go out of the earth to see the universe, they have infinite interest in the mystery of the vast universe. Before human beings go out of the earth, we will always be frogs in the bottom of the well. What we look up is only the sky of the earth.
In the eyes of human beings, the sky above us is vast, but when we really walk out of the earth, we find that the earth is so small, and the real vast world is the boundless universe. When we are on the earth, if we want to explore a certain area, we can go to the front for observation and research. However, in the face of the vast universe, the speed of human beings is slower than that of tortoise. We can’t go anywhere in the universe to explore, because it requires the speed of spaceship to exceed the speed of light.
It will take tens of thousands of years for current human technology to fly out of the solar system, let alone send spacecraft to explore other galaxies. If we can’t get out of the solar system and have no speed faster than the speed of light, can we not explore the universe? Of course not. Scientists invented the astronomical telescope. It can ignore the distance and let us see the celestial bodies or other things in the distant universe.
Astronomical telescopes can be divided into two types. One is used to observe stars, planets and other celestial bodies directly. Although this kind of telescope can also observe very far away, its range is relatively limited, so another kind of telescope was born, which is radio telescope. China’s self-developed sky eye is the most powerful radio telescope in the world.
The 500 meter aperture spherical radio telescope, short for fast, is located in the karst pit of dawodang, Kedu Town, Pingtang County, Qiannan Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province. The project is a major national science and technology infrastructure, known as “China’s eye of the sky”. It was proposed by Chinese astronomer Nan Rendong in 1994. It took 22 years to complete and put into use on September 25, 2016. Led by the National Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it is the largest single aperture and most sensitive radio telescope in the world with independent intellectual property rights in China. Its comprehensive performance is ten times that of the famous radio telescope Arecibo.
Maybe many people don’t know about China’s heavenly eye, and it has been relatively low-key since it was put into use in 2016, so many people have a misunderstanding: they think that China’s heavenly eye is just a vase that can’t be used. Is that really the case? Of course not. In fact, China’s heavenly eye is far more powerful than we think. If China’s heavenly eye is very powerful, what have it found in recent years?
Before explaining the powerful and important discovery of the Chinese sky eye, let’s popularize the functions and functions of radio telescopes. The radio telescope is different from the Hubble, which relies on exploring radio waves for observation. As long as the radio waves within its observation range are likely to be received by radio telescopes, this is the strength of such telescopes.
Although it is claimed that the observable range of the universe is tens of billions of light-years, the observation range of the tracking telescope is very limited, far less than tens of billions of light-years. In fact, the ability of the tracking telescope to observe thousands of light-years away is its limit. Only radio telescopes can observe tens of billions of light-years, because many cosmic strong pulses can travel over tens of billions of light-years.
In the vast universe, the number of radio waves is too much to be estimated, most of which are the radio pulse signals of celestial bodies, such as stars, planets, neutron stars, pulsars, black holes and so on. Since China’s Tianyan was put into use, 59 pulsars have been discovered, of which 44 have never been discovered. This is a great achievement. In addition, Tianyan is also monitoring the “neutral hydrogen” in the universe, which is the basis for studying the origin and evolution of the universe.
The most exciting thing is that the sky eye has found many radio signals that have not yet been confirmed. Perhaps there are alien civilizations hidden in them. There are innumerable celestial bodies in the vast universe. We can’t detect every celestial body. We can only focus on some important targets, which are planets that can send out radio signals.
Someone might say, can planets still send radio signals? Of course, it can. In fact, planets like earth can send radio signals spontaneously, which may be an important feature of living planets. Therefore, it is very important for scientists to search for planets that can send radio signals through radio telescopes.
The planet that can send out radio signals itself represents an extraordinary planet, which is likely to be a planet of life. And there’s another possibility of a planet that can send out radio signals, and that’s civilization. After a civilization develops to a certain extent, it will inevitably develop to the interstellar, and after going to the interstellar, it can’t do without the development of radio communication.
If we can find some mysterious radio signals in the universe, and then crack such signals, we may be able to find alien civilizations. This is also the most hopeful way for human beings to find alien civilization in the future, and the Chinese sky eye is the most powerful radio telescope in the world, so scientists have high expectations for it. Some scientists believe that the hope for human beings to find alien civilization in the future may lie in the sky eye.
Of course, although China’s heavenly eye is powerful, it can receive all kinds of radio signals in the universe every day, but it is very difficult to really confirm that it is the signal of alien civilization. The simple reason is that we may not be able to understand the radio signals of alien civilizations at all. You know, two different civilizations, languages, characters, etc. will be completely different.
Even though the two civilizations are both scientific and technological civilizations, the development of science and technology may be totally different. As a result, the radio technology of alien civilization may be totally different from that of human beings. In this case, even if we can search for and receive signals from alien civilizations, we will not be able to solve them at all. If we can’t decipher such a signal, we can’t be completely sure that it’s an alien civilization signal.
Of course, there is another possibility, that is, the alien civilization is closer to us, such as in the neighboring galaxy. The scientific and technological development level of alien civilization is similar to that of human beings, and the mode of radio communication technology is also similar. In this way, once the radio signal sent by alien civilization to the earth is received by us, the success rate of our decoding will be very high.
In the same way, the strong radio signal sent by human beings to the universe may also be received by the alien civilization, so that the earth’s coordinates can be obtained successfully. In this case, no one knows whether the earth and human beings are good or bad. Hawking has repeatedly warned mankind: do not send radio signals to outer space, which may expose the position of the earth and bring unknown disasters to human civilization.
In any case, there is no doubt that China’s heavenly eye is powerful. The main reason why it is relatively low-key is that we Chinese don’t want to be too ostentatious. One day in the future, the celestial eye will receive a certain signal of alien civilization and successfully decode it. At that time, the announcement will stir the whole world, and China’s heavenly eye will also carry the history of human beings. We are looking forward to that day.
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